Branding has gone a long way from logos, brand colors, and taglines since the adoption of digital marketing. Businesses of all sizes have realized the importance of maintaining a compelling and trustworthy image. Nowadays, a brand could draw flak for tone-deaf messaging or poorly-timed ads. And that’s because consumers are more informed and empowered than ever.
If you’re starting a business or looking to accelerate your growth, you should put in more time and effort to strengthen your brand.
Your brand is the voice and character of your business. It’s also the promise you make to your customers, so it’s important that your messaging is consistent and powerful enough to influence people. Your branding should also inform your digital marketing and communications, as it’s crucial to stay true to your values.
Achieve your brand goals in 2021 with the following tips.
Establish Your Identity & Core Values
A brand that’s confused about its own identity isn’t hard to spot. Consumers can be quite intuitive when they notice that their favorite brands deviate from their brand values enough to cause a PR disaster.
To make sure you can hold up a consistent image, one that’s in line with your target audience’s values, develop your brand identity first. Create a brand book that outlines everything about your brand and how employees and the media portray it. Your brand book should be comprehensive and specific and should include visual and communication guidelines.
Communicate with Care & Empathy
People justify logically, but they decide emotionally. This is why it’s important to connect with your audience on an intimate level. When crafting your message, whether you’re writing a blog post, ad copy, press release, or email newsletter, be purposeful, on point, authentic, and respectful.
If you don’t know what voice to adopt yet, listen to your audience first. Learn more about their interests, hobbies, and goals, and find out what your competitors are doing. You can also test different angles or messaging using A/B split tests to see which writing styles, formats, and methods of delivery your customers are more receptive to.
Consistency is one of the keys to building brand loyalty. If you keep changing up your brand colors and logos every year or use different brand spellings and iconography across digital channels, it would only lead to confusion. Consistency helps you maintain top-of-mind awareness and makes your brand seem more dependable.
Remember that your branding represents your company, so it pays to stay true to that voice and personality. Most people are naturally averse to change. This is why big brands like Google and Apple deliberately roll out changes gradually so users don’t get shocked or confused. So if you’re going to change your logo, for example, plan for a transition that’s slow or incremental, and communicate with your customers whenever you roll out any changes.
Get Your Employees’ Buy-in
Your employees are your brand’s best ambassadors. If your people like working for you and stand by your values, they will definitely spread the word. In fact, disgruntled employees are some of the worst things that could muddle your brand image. Keep in mind that your brand should be the most sincere representation of your values and objectives as a business and not just a front.
That said, you, your leadership team, and your staff should embody these principles or, at least, believe in them. One way you can achieve that is to live by example and have regular conversations with your employees. In addition to providing competitive salary packages, perks, and engagement opportunities, you should also invest in training, mentoring, and empowering your employees to become ambassadors for your brand.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
When it comes to branding, there’s probably nothing more important than word-of-mouth or customer testimonials. In fact, your ratings and reviews could make or break your business. While it’s unavoidable to receive negative feedback from customers, there are many things you can do to maintain a positive image.
And one of the most proven ways is to provide exceptional customer service. To get started, make sure you have the most up-to-date contact information across your online channels. Provide multiple options for customers to contact you, including email, website chat, phone, text, social media, community apps, and so on.
Don’t forget to send out customer satisfaction surveys after every purchase so you can collect testimonials and be sure to publish them online. If you have negative feedback on your website or business listings, never delete them. Instead, respond to them in the most courteous and sincere way possible. Remember, no PR blunder can’t be solved with a sincere apology.
Creating an effective brand strategy for your business has become even more important in 2021, now that consumers are more vocal and empowered than ever.